Swadhyaya Book Group

Second Wednesday of each month at 6:30-8:30 pmBook Club

Come join with your yoga community at Santosha Yoga Studio to study yourself in light of the scriptures. Our swadhyaya book group will explore scriptures and spiritual writings from around the world in the spirit of swadhyaya.

The niyama swadhyaya is the prescription to study scriptures or “sacred lore” and to study the self. The two are blended by studying the self in the light of the scriptures. The discipline of swadhyaya moves us towards transcendence of the small self and actualization of the true Self. Yoga invites us to test the teachings of the scriptures in our own lives, and see what is true for us.

Just as a teacher’s instructions to a group are limited by the varying needs of the students—and rarely apply perfectly or evenly to all of them—written teachings may not apply to each reader. Particular teachings may overstate or understate the message an individual may need at a particular time. So students of yoga seek truth by examining the effect in their own spiritual lives of the scriptures’ various practices or precepts—or testing various interpretations of them.

Rather than a class, or a book group, this will be a study circle in the fashion of a dharma discussion group. Karina Lutz will guide the group into deep exploration of the meanings of the texts and group members will reflect on their own efforts to apply the scriptures in their lives, and teach each other what they have discovered.

Before coming to a group meeting, reading the whole book would be optimal, but more important is to have tried to practice one or more of the teachings in the book and be willing to share what you learned from that with the group, directly from the heart.

We will read and converse about The Yoga Sutras in January, and the Bhagavad Gita in February—to start with yoga’s classic texts. From there we will branch out to scriptures or sacred texts of other religions and writings of some of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers.

2013 schedule: Second Wednesday of each month at 6:30-8:30 pm

January 9  –  The Yoga Sutras, by Patanjali
February 13  –  Bhagavad Gita
March  13  –  Tao te Ching, by Lao Tzu
April 10  –  Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing
(trans. and interpreted by Thich Nhat Hanh in Breathe! You are Alive!)
May  8  –  Ecclesiastes
June 12  –  World as Lover, World as Self, Joanna Macy
July 10  –  The Essential Gandhi, ed. John Dear
August 14  –  The Essential Rumi, trans. Coleman Barks
September 11  –  Start Where You Are, Pema Chodron
October 9  –  Hands of Light, Barbara Ann Brennan
November 13  –  Gospel of Mary Magdalene (
December 11  –  The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice, TKV Desikachar

“When people meet for svadhyaya, the speaker and listener are of one mind and have mutual love and respect. There is no sermonising and one heart speaks to another. The ennobling thoughts that arise from svadhyaya are, so to speak, taken into one’s bloodstream so that they become a part of one’s life and being.”   —B.K.S. Iyengar
“[G]ood conversation is… [a] much older and more reliable way for humans to think together…When we think about beginning a conversation, we can take courage from the fact that this is…reawakening an ancient practice, a way of being together that all humans remember.” —Margaret Wheatley

Karina Lutz is a workshop leader, poet, yoga teacher, and sustainable energy consultant. She has been involved in sustainable energy issues since 1988, most recently as Deputy Director of People’s Power & Light, a social entrepreneurial nonprofit energy consumers’ alliance with a mission to make energy affordable and environmentally sustainable. She has also worked as a writer and editor, and received a MS from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She is currently an aspirant to become a member of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing.

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